Rep. Chris Corry leads opposition as House Democrats pass $71.7 billion supplemental operating budget, reject most Republican amendments

Democrats in the Washington House of Representatives passed the 2023-25 supplemental operating budget Saturday with a 58-37 vote. The vote came after hours of debate on a series of amendments from House Republicans that would have reduced spending in the two-year budget and prioritized law enforcement, special education, and the state ferry system, among other things. Most were rejected by the majority Democrats.

WATCH: Rep. Chris Corry’s video on the supplemental operating budget here

Following the vote, Rep. Chris Corry, R-Yakima, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee issued the following statement regarding the House-passed supplemental operating budget.

“Under Democrat leadership, state spending has more than doubled in the past decade. And while the state is flush with cash, the same is not true for low-and middle-class families.  Washington ranks as one of the least affordable states, yet this budget does not provide any real relief for working-class families.  

“Instead of focusing on key issues facing Washingtonians, the supplemental budget, includes significant new spending for special projects and includes more than one-thousand different line items with little transparency or accountability.  

“Moreover, our state economy is slowing, with revenue growth projected to be below historical averages for the next few years.  Unfortunately, by the end of the 4-year outlook, the budget leaves just $2.2 billion in reserves or 5.9% of projected revenue.  This is woefully short of the recommended 10% savings by the National Association of State Treasurers.  When combined with a tiny ending fund balance of only $82 million, I am concerned that the majority have yet again spent every last dollar without properly accounting for the future.”  

WATCH: Rep. Chris Corry speaks to his striking amendment on the supplemental operating budget proposal here.

Corry led the opposition to the supplemental operating budget on the House floor, arguing it was not a fiscally responsible budget and would not help average Washingtonians struggling to afford gas, groceries, and more. Specifically, Corry pointed to the continued growth of state government spending, recalling state lawmakers being in Olympia in 2014 and passing a supplemental budget totaling $200 million in new spending, this budget would increase spending by $2.2 billion.  That’s a 1000% increase in 10 years.

Washington is facing a series of crises.  Half of all students are failing math and reading.  Our state ranks last in the nation in officers per capita. We have the fewest number of working ferries in state history.  Unfortunately, this budget does nothing to address these problems facing average Washingtonians.

Corry pointed to a series of amendments offered by House Republicans that were mostly rejected by the majority.

  • Rep. Corry’s amendment would have spent nearly $800 million on grants for police officer staffing, funding to detect and remediate fentanyl and meth contamination on public transit, and one-time funding to address encampments.
  • Rep. Skyler Rude’s amendment would have increased funding for para-educators to help address learning loss in our K-12 schools.
  • Rep. April Connors’ amendment would have funded $150 checks to Washington drivers to offset high gas prices caused by the state’s new carbon tax.
  • Rep. Kelly Chambers’ amendment would have redirected close to $400 million in cannabis revenue to cover a  long-overdue increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates (Corry/Hutchins House Bill 2449)
  • Rep. Michelle Caldier’s amendment would have provided $450 million to cover the building of two new non-hybrid electric ferries that could be completed under an emergency ferry building proclamation. 

The House-passed version of the supplemental operating budget must be reconciled with the Senate budget before heading to the governor’s desk.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov